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Dominant Tasman cruise to NPC semi-finals

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/10/2016
David Havili of Tasman, file photo. © Kerry Marshall/Getty Images David Havili of Tasman, file photo.

Tasman have cake-walked into the NPC premiership semi-finals, destroying Southland 56-0 in an entertaining cross-over match in Nelson.

Needing merely a losing bonus point to qualify for the play-offs ahead of Waikato, Tasman took the next step by securing a winning bonus point.

The five points lifted them past fourth-placed Counties Manukau, leaving them with a semi-final trip to New Plymouth to face second-placed Taranaki. Top qualifiers Canterbury will host Counties Manukau.

It was always going to be a tall order for Southland to stop Tasman, with the southerners languishing near the foot of the second-tier championship division.

Tasman scored three tries in the first half and five after the break, with all eight converted by Mitchell Hunt, standing in for the injured Marty Banks.

Chiefs winger James Lowe was hugely influential for the winners, popping up all over the park to make breaks or create space for others.

His try on the stroke of halftime was the game's best, touching the ball three times himself as the ball was off-loaded multiple times.

They raised their half-century just before the final hooter through a sizzling solo counter-attacking try to fullback Caleb Makene.

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